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Jodi Arias is on trial for the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Arias testified she stabbed Alexander multiple times, shot him in the face and slit his throat from ear to ear in self-defense. Prosecutor Juan Martinez and Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi delivered their closing arguments Thursday and Friday. The case was handed over to the jury following Martinez’ rebuttal closing argument.
Final witnesses take the stand
The State of Arizona rested its case against Arias Wednesday after calling two rebuttal witnesses to discredit the defense’s claim that Arias suffered from PTSD, and that Alexander was shot before stabbed.
Earlier in the day, defense rebuttal expert Dr. Robert Geffner, a neuropsychologist who reviewed the tests administered to Arias, testified her scores were more consistent with PTSD or an anxiety disorder rather than Borderline Personality Disorder.
According to Geffner, the MMPI test used by the State psychologist Dr. Janeen DeMarte to diagnose Arias with Borderline Personality Disorder was not geared for detecting personality disorders. Geffner added that the more appropriate test would have been the MILAN MCMI, the test administered by defense expert Dr Richard Samuels.
Geffner testified that based on his experience in gunshot related brain injuries and specifically frontal lobe injuries as the state claims Alexander suffered, the type of wound sustained by Alexander would not have been immediately incapacitating. Geffner’s testimony directly countered the testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn, the medical examiner who conducted Alexander’s autopsy.
Prosecutor Martinez pointed out on cross-examination that Geffner had never performed an autopsy and was in no way qualified to offer an opinion on Alexander’s brain injury.
Martinez then called Horn back on the stand to repeat his previous testimony that the gunshot wound to Alexander’s head would have immediately incapacitated him. Horn added that the lack of hemorrhage in his brain suggested that the blood had already been dispelled due to the multiple stab wounds, which could mean Alexander was already dead when he suffered the gunshot wound.
Forensic neuropsychologist Dr. Jill Hayes was the last witness called to testify in the case. Hayes stated she disagreed with Geffner’s testimony that the MMPI test was not geared toward diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder, supporting the testimony of the State’s expert psychologist.
State delivers closing argument
Prosecutor Martinez delivered his closing argument Thursday, driving home the State’s belief that Arias planned to kill Alexander when she went to his home on June 4, 2008.
Before Martinez delivered his final remarks, Judge Sherry Stephens read the jury their instructions. She also informed the jury that in addition to first-degree murder, they are allowed to consider second-degree murder and manslaughter by sudden quarrel or heat of passion as possible verdicts in the case.
Here are some of the key points Martinez alleged during his closing argument:
- Arias has been a manipulator since a young girl
- Arias’ entire defense is based on lies
- Arias lied to the jury, police, medical professionals, and the media
- Arias has a pattern with men regarding invading their privacy
- Arias stalked Alexander on numerous occasions
- No evidence suggests Alexander was abusive, or a pedophile
- Evidence shows Arias premeditated the killing
- Arias lied on the stand when she said Alexander owned a gun
- Alexander had defensive wounds on his hands
- Alexander suffered; was stabbed before shot
- Slash to Alexander’s throat proves Arias wanted him to die
- If killing was in self-defense, why didn’t Arias call 911
- Wal-Mart witness proves Arias lied about returning 3rd gas can
- Arias is “good on her feet,” has an explanation for every piece of evidence
- Arias’ memory is “incredible” unless it hurts her, then the “fog rolls in”
- Why did Arias stay with Alexander if he was such a bad person
- Why didn’t Arias tell anyone, including police, about Alexander’s alleged pedophilia?
- Arias wants jury to feel sorry for her, blames everything on Alexander
- Alexander told a friend less than a month before his death he was “extremely afraid” of Arias
- Alexander told Arias before the killing that he thinks she’s “evil”
- Alexander told Arias she’s “the worst thing that ever happened” to him
- In order for jury to believe Arias, they would have to turn their back on all the evidence
- Arias won’t let Alexander rest in peace
As he went thru the evidence against Arias, Martinez repeatedly reminded jurors that Arias "has attempted to manipulate you.”
“Your duty is to follow the law and the facts. The State is asking you to return a verdict of guilty of first-degree murder, felony murder. Thank you,” Martinez said as he ended his closing argument.
Defense delivers closing argument
Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi took center stage Friday as he delivered his closing argument in a final attempt to convince the jury Arias killed Alexander in self-defense.
Here are some of the key points Nurmi alleged during his closing argument:
- State’s theory of felony murder is “incomprehensible”
- Arias killed Alexander in self-defense
- This case is about fear, love, sex, lies, and dirty little secrets
- If this was a covert mission, why would Arias steal her grandparent’s gun?
- If this was a covert mission, why did Arias leave a paper trail?
- If this was a covert mission, why did Arias use debit card to buy gas?
- It’s possible Arias returned gas can to a different Wal-Mart
- If Alexander was afraid of Arias, why did he let her into his home on the day of the killing?
- Alexander’s alleged prior attacks on Arias show history of domestic violence
- Even State expert said battered women lie and don’t call the police
- Phone sex tape is evidence Alexander was a pedophile
- Arias did not stalk Alexander
- Inadvertent photos taken during killing are consistent with Arias’ version of events
- Arias was in fear for her life so she grabbed the gun in the closet
- It’s possible Arias put shelf back after grabbing gun if shelf was dislodged
- Arias’ “fog” is an “inconvenient truth”
- Crime scene is one of chaos, it shows “passion, anger, rage,” not premeditation
- Crime scene was not a “orchestrated cleanup” on Arias’ part
- State’s belief that Arias shot Alexander after he was dead doesn’t make any sense
- 9 stab wounds to Alexander’s back were shallow
“Ultimately, if Ms. Arias, if she’s guilty of any crime, it is of manslaughter, nothing more,” Nurmi said has he ended his closing argument.
Prosecutor Martinez got the final word Friday afternoon before the case was handed over to the jury, spending over an hour picking apart the arguments made by the defense in their closing.
“I am asking you to return a verdict of first-degree murder. Not only of premeditated murder, but also felony murder. Not because it’s an emotional decision, but because in this case, Travis Victor Alexander was slaughtered by this woman. She slashed his throat, she stabbed him in the heart, and then she shot him in the face, and all of that, thinking about it in advance,” Martinez said ending his rebuttal argument.
The jury began deliberating at 6:37 p.m. ET May 3. They deliberated until about 7:30 p.m. ET and then went home for the weekend. The jury will pick back up with deliberations at 12:00 p.m. ET Monday.